'Gold' directed by Reema Kagti is a product of a familiar voice. The story, based on India's first victory in Hockey Olympics, is a certainly unabashedly imperative narrative which history books shoukd have taught us: that the Indian Hockey team won a gold medal in the Hockey Olymoics of 1948, just an year after the independence from British Raj, in Britain, against the British, amidst a London-rains-soaked stadium. But in keeping with the tradition of most of the success-story-sports-dramas, the action, ofcourse, unfolds in the latter half of the film- that too, in the last minutes. We don't have any problem with this if this clikax we were waiting for unfolds with richness- and Reema does just that. A surprisingly resonant climax gives you a swell of pride and absolute satisfaction. The climax is the greatest thing about this Bollywood-style sports entertainer.
Akshay Kumar is the most whimsical thing about the film. He brings out a large barrel of comedy to his character ajd spreads it throughout. Even through the earnest shots, he brings a little humor. His performance isn't promising at all- but he constantly delivers. Although Mouni Roy makes her screen presence count, a little of her acting chops are used.
The wondrous are the team members who are given the screen timing: Sunny Kaushal's got meat and bones, and he proves his mettle in acting debut. Vineet Kumar Singh as an ex-Indian and present-Pakistani hockey player is a lot interesting. But the film is duly stretched, and suffers from a convoluted script. It slows down Amit Sadh's character map, as it does, to many in the star-cast. It has a visual ensemble- a platter serving glittery golds, all over the screen right after the film starts. But this rarely helps.
And still, it's a bold attempt on Reema's behalf, who helms a story of male sportsmen being a woman. She doesn't exactly do the 'Chak De! India' effect. Far from it. But still, 'Gold' works because it shoots to a great deal up as the tricolour unfurls, first in hiding and then into the open.
About a month is about to pass since we celebrated the Independence Day & as always a couple of flicks which harped about patriotism made it's way to the theatres. However, since our state went through the worst floods in more than a century, I neither had the time nor felt it was appropriate to pen down as to what I thought about "Gold" & "Satyameva Jayate". The former had Akshay in the lead & it was a fictional take with a dose of reality about India's first Olympic gold in hockey after becoming independent. I have to admit that I have a soft corner for sports dramas, but was it so good so to have become a huge hit???
The year was 1936 & the two time defending Olympic champions British India was up against the Germans in the grand finale with Hitler in attendance. Though the team seemed flustered in the first half, the Indian team bolstered by Samrat's magic (Kunal Kapoor) & manager Tapan Das's inspirational pep talk (Akshay Kumar) turned the tables on their opponents & won the contest with ease. Incidentally, that was the last time the team played under the British India flag as the the next three Olympics were cancelled due to WWII. With the 1948 Olympics confirmed & the news of Indian independence turning out to be a reality, Tapan Das approaches the Hockey Federation to allow him to assemble a team for the tournament. Despite resistance from certain quarters due to his drinking problem & monetary mismanagement, he is given the permission to do the needful. Though he manages to put together a stellar team, little did he realise that partition will fragment the team in ways unimaginable.
Reema Kagti is a relatively well known director with movies like "Honeymoon Travels Ltd" & "Talaash" to her credit, in addition to having scripted a few others as well. Her latest venture is a concoction of fact & fiction & is scripted by her in the company of Rajesh Devraj. Whenever we talk about hockey, the first name that comes to mind is Dhyan Chand & this character is portrayed as Kunal's Samrat while Tapan Das's role has shades of similarity with Pankaj Gupta. Some of the sequences depicted in the movie such as playing bare foot in wet conditions etc., are all inspired from real life events. The first half works better unlike the latter half which seemed pretty dramatic & over the top at times. With regard to the technical aspects, the art direction deserves praise, Anand Subayya's editing ought to have been tighter while Sachin-Jigar's music was fine though the placement of a few of them didnt make sense.
Akshay has done a decent job as the manager though as a Bengali he wasnt quite upto the mark. Interestingly, quite a few others were brilliant in their roles such as Kunal Kapoor, Vineet Kumar Singh, Nikita Dutta & Sunny Kaushal. Even Amit Sadh was fine though a tad artificial at times while Mouni Roy was average.
Verdict: As a sports drama, it doesnt quite match upto the benchmark set by "Chak De", but still provides an engaging viewing experience. It has notched impressive numbers at the box office though it had potential to have been much better. In short, check it out!!!